Live Tigers blog: Tigers go behind early, lose 5-1

Al Willman
The Detroit News
Tigers pitcher Mike Pelfrey was chased from the game after giving up four runs to the Twins in the second inning.

The Tigers fell behind early in Thursday’s 5-1 loss to the Twins, cementing a split of the four-game series between the two teams.

Mike Pelfrey, on a 60-pitch count, started for the Tigers (78-68). He allowed four runs in 1 2/3 innings, throwing just 36 pitches.

The Tigers then went to an army of left-handed relievers. Blaine Hardy, Kyle Ryan, Justin Wilson and Joe Mantiply combined to go 6 1/3 scoreless innings, before right-hander Mark Lowe gave up an RBI double in the top of the ninth inning to Byron Buxton, which was charged to Mantiply.

Hector Santiago started for the Twins (55-95). He went 5 2/3 innings, allowing a run on six hits while striking out three and walking two.

The Tigers got their only run in the bottom of the sixth, when James McCann hit an RBI double in the bottom, scoring Justin Upton. They put two on with one out in the bottom of the ninth, after getting singles from pinch-hitter Cameron Maybin and Andrew Romine. Ian Kinsler grounded into the game-ending 6-4-3 double play.

The Tigers start a three-game weekend set in Cleveland against the Indians. Friday’s is a battle of the aces. Michael Fulmer (10-6, 2.76 ERA) gets the nod for the Tigers, while Corey Kluber (16-9, 3.05 ERA) will go for the Indians.

Twins get add-on run in 9th

Joe Mantiply, the fourth lefty to pitch for the Tigers, started the ninth inning.

He gave up an infield single to Eddie Rosario before Juan Centeno sacrificed him to second base. Righty Mark Lowe then came on to replace Mantiply, immediately giving up an RBI single to Byron Buxton — snapping the bullpen’s streak of 6 2/3 scoreless innings, though the run was charged to Mantiply. Brian Dozier followed by flying out to the warning track in left field before Jorge Polanco grounded out to shortstop to end the inning.

Going to the bottom of the ninth, the Twins lead the Tigers, 5-1.

Tigers go 1-2-3 in 8th

The Tigers, in desperate need of runs, went down in order in the bottom of the eighth inning.

Victor Martinez flew out to right field before J.D. Martinez grounded out to shortstop, giving the Tigers two quick outs. Justin Upton then grounded out to short, completing the 1-2-3 frame. After eight, the Tigers are down 4-1.

Joe Mantiply, the fourth lefty to pitch for the Tigers today, will start the ninth.

Tigers bullpen remains scoreless

Justin Wilson, the third left-handed reliever of the day for the Tigers, came in to start the eighth inning.

He struck out Joe Mauer and Kennys Vargas, before Max Kepler’s infield single extended the inning for the Twins. Kepler advanced to second on a wild pitch. Eduardo Escobar then grounded out to end the half inning, continuing the scoreless streak for the Tigers bullpen — which is now 6 1/3 innings.

Going to the bottom of the eighth, the Tigers are down 4-1.

Tigers offense stops again in 7th

The Tigers offense seems to have stopped again.

Jose Iglesias singled with one out, on an 0-2 pitch from Twins reliever Alex Wimmers. Miguel Cabrera then grounded into a 4-6-3 double play, ending the inning. After seven, the Tigers trail the Twins, 4-1.

Ryan gets out of jam in 7th

Kyle Ryan had two runners in scoring position, but was able to get out of the top of the seventh inning unscathed.

With two outs, Byron Buxton tripled. The Tigers then elected to intentionally walk Brian Dozier, putting runners at the corners. Dozier then stole second base before Jorge Polanco struck out to end the half inning. The Tigers head to the bottom of the seventh down 4-1.

Tigers score first run in 6th

The Tigers offense finally produced, scoring a run in the bottom of the sixth.

J.D. Martinez singled with one out, becoming the only Tiger batter with two hits in the game. Justin Upton then grounded into a fielder’s choice, with Brian Dozier getting Martinez at second base. James McCann then doubled in Upton on a 3-2 pitch to the wall in left field, putting the Tigers on the board.

The Twins turned to their bullpen, going with righty J.T. Chargois. The Tigers countered with left-handed batter Tyler Collins, hitting for JaCoby Jones. Collins walked, putting two on with two outs. Andrew Romine ended the rally, flying out to the warning track in right field. After six, the Tigers trail 4-1.

 Ryan enters, throws 1-2-3 6th

The Tigers bullpen is keeping the offense, seemingly, in the ballgame.

Kyle Ryan came on to start the sixth inning, replacing Blaine Hardy who threw 3 1/3 shutout innings in relief of Mike Pelfrey, who was blasted for four runs in 1 2/3 innings to start the game.

Ryan threw a 1-2-3 sixth, getting Kennys Vargas to ground out to shortstop, before striking out Max Kepler and inducing a fly ball out off the bat of Eduardo Escobar to end the inning.

Going to the bottom of the sixth, the Tigers remain behind 4-0.

Tigers strand pair, again, in 5th

The third time was not the charm for the Tigers in the bottom of the fifth inning — they left two runners on, yet again.

JaCoby Jones singled to lead off the bottom of the fifth — his first hit in 11 at-bats. Andrew Romine then struck out before Ian Kinsler walked, putting two on for the third straight inning. Jose Iglesias flew out to left field for the second out before Miguel Cabrera flew out to deep center field to end the inning.

After five, the Twins are continuing their shutout, with a 4-0 lead over the Tigers.

Hardy lights-out in relief

Blaine Hardy, like Buck Farmer on Tuesday, has been lights-out in relief of a troubled Tigers starter.

Hardy walked Brian Dozier to lead off the fifth. Jorge Polanco emptied the bases by grounding into a 1-6-3 double play, before Joe Mauer grounded out to shortstop to end the half inning. Going to the bottom of the fifth, the Tigers offense has yet to produce, down 4-0.

Hardy has thrown 3 1/3 scoreless innings, allowing only two hits and striking out one.

Tigers leave two more on in 4th

The Tigers, for the second straight inning, left a pair of runners on base.

Miguel Cabrera popped out to Twins first baseman Kennys Vargas in foul territory before Victor Martinez hit a towering pop fly to second base — for the second time in as many at-bats. J.D. Martinez broke an 0-for-13 streak with a two-out infield single. Justin Upton then walked, putting two on with two outs for the Tigers — for the second straight inning. James McCann then popped out to right field to end the inning.

After four, the Tigers are still behind 4-0.

Hardy fires 2nd scoreless frame in 4th

Blaine Hardy threw his second scoreless inning of relief in the top of the fourth.

Eddie Rosario singled to lead off the inning before Juan Centeno erased him on his 4-6-3 double play. Byron Buxton then swung into a close play. He was originally ruled safe when James McCann’s throw to first base to complete Blaine Hardy’s would-be first strikeout appeared to be late. The call was overturned on review, completing the strikeout. Going to the bottom of the fourth, the Tigers remain behind, 4-0.

Tigers leave two on in 3rd

The Tigers put two on in the bottom of the third inning, before stranding them.

James McCann singled to lead off the bottom of the third, before Andrew Romine’s single two batters later put two on with one out. Ian Kinsler struck out swinging before Jose Iglesias flew out to left field, ending the inning. After three, the Tigers are still down 4-0.

Hardy strands one-out single in 3rd

The Tigers settled down a bit in the top of the third.

Kennys Vargas hit a one-out single, but was stranded two batters later after Andrew Romine made a good play on a hard-hit grounder from Eduardo Escobar. Romine threw off his back foot to get Escobar by a full step at first base. Going to the bottom of the third, the Twins maintain a 4-0 lead.

Tigers go 1-2-3 in 2nd

The Tigers have yet to produce a baserunner.

After they scattered five hits against Kyle Gibson on Tuesday, the Tigers have gone in order in consecutive innings to start Thursday's game. Victor Martinez popped out to second base, before J.D. Martinez struck out on a ball well outside the strike zone. Justin Upton flew out to deep center field to end the inning.

After two innings, the Tigers trail 4-0.

Twins score 4, chase Pelfrey in 2nd

Three things happened to Mike Pelfrey in the second inning, none of them good. He gave up four runs, more than doubled his pitch count and was chased from the game after allowing four runs.

It took five pitches in the top of the second inning for Pelfrey to give up his first run. Kennys Vargas doubled to right center field to start the inning, before Max Kepler singled him in, putting the Twins on the board. Pelfrey then threw away a pickoff attempt, allowing Kepler to reach third. Eduardo Escobar then singled in Kepler. Eddie Rosario followed with a bunt single, the fourth hit in a row for the Twins in the second inning. Juan Centeno laid down a sacrifice bunt, moving Escobar and Rosario to second and third. Byron Buxton then popped out to shallow right field, for the second out, on Pelfrey's 17th pitch of the inning. Brian Dozier then hit a two-run single, chasing Pelfrey after 36 pitches.

Left-hander Blaine Hardy replaced him, getting Jorge Polanco to fly out to deep center field.

Going to the bottom of the second, the Twins have a 4-0 lead.

Tigers go in order in 1st

The Tigers got off to a slow start against Twins starter Hector Santiago, going down in order in the bottom of the first inning. Ian Kinsler flew out to the warning track in left field, before Jose Iglesias flew out to right field. Miguel Cabrera flew out to deep left center field to end the inning. After one, the game remains scoreless.

Pelfrey looks good in 1st

Mike Pelfrey looked good in the first inning of what Tigers manager Brad Ausmus declared a 60-pitch start. On 14 pitches, he set the Twins down in order. Pelfrey got Brian Dozier to ground out, a rarity for Tigers pitchers, of late, before striking out Jorge Polanco looking. Pelfrey got Joe Mauer to fly out to Justin Upton in foul territory for the third out. Going to the bottom of the first, the game is scoreless.

How to watch: Tigers vs. Twins

The Tigers have taken two out of the first three games so far, including Wednesday night's 9-6 roller-coaster win. Detroit sits 1 game out of the second American League wild-card spot and Tigers slugger Miguel Cabrera is telling the fans to "stay positive."

Is the third time the charm with Jordan Zimmermann? He threw a simulated game yesterday and could be closer to a return trip to the starting rotation.

Also on the injury front, Nick Castellanos is still on the disabled list with a broken bone in his left hand. Will he be back this season? That's still up in the air, Chris McCoskey writes.

TIGERS LINEUP

1. Ian Kinsler, 2B

2. Jose Iglesias, SS

3. Miguel Cabrera, 1B

4. Victor Martinez, DH

5. J.D. Martinez, RF

6. Justin Upton, LF

7. James McCann, C

8. JaCoby Jones, CF

9. Andrew Romine, 3B

P, Mike Pelfrey

TWINS LINEUP

1. Brian Dozier, 2B

2. Jorge Polanco, SS

3. Joe Mauer, DH

4. Kennys Vargas, 1B

5. Max Kepler, RF

6. Eduardo Escobar, 3B

7. Eddie Rosario, LF

8. Juan Centeno, C

9. Byron Buxton, CF

P, Hector Santiago

TIGERS VS. TWINS

When: Thursday, 1:10 p.m.

Where: Comerica Park, Detroit

Pitching matchup: RHP Mike Pelfrey (4-9, 4.76) vs. LHP Hector Santiago (11-8, 4.75)

Local TV: Fox Sports Detroit

National TV: None

Internet streaming:MLB.TV (blacked out in Detroit market)

Local radio: 97.1 FM

Satellite radio: SIRI 176